Volume 44 Number 1 Article 8
Gale Garth Pot
1 September 2007
Having checked the rigging guide, bagged up the tackle and got to Bull Pot Farm at 1030 ready for the Cow Pot trip, then waiting for 30 minutes, I released that I was going to be forced to activate the back up plan of a solo photo trip in Mistral Hole.
I exchanged the rope for camera gear and added my details to the call-out board. I started to walk toward Mistral. I must have passed Hidden Pot a couple of hundred times, and as I had about seven hours before the committee meeting I figured I could spare a couple of minutes looking inside Hidden Pot. Back on the track after about five minutes with the added knowledge that it does just what it says in Northern Caves 3, short climb down the obvious entrance and then ends in a small chamber with a boulder choke. There are lots of signs of old digging, but no way on.
A couple of minutes later I passed Gale Garth Pot, although I did not know the name at the time. On the left of the track about 100 m before the gate leading to Lancaster Hole there is a triangular men at work sign. As Hidden Pot had not used up much time I figured I could spare another quick trip under the sign to see what was there.
Under the sign I found a well prepared entrance shaft with an iron ladder in place. Not wanting to find a sheep blocking my exit I dragged the sign back in place behind me. I left the large camera bag out of sight of walkers hanging on the ladder under the sign. The plan at this stage was a quick trip if anything worth photographing I would come back for the camera in a couple of minutes.
From the base of the ladder into a small chamber out of which for some there could be two routes but there was only one suitable for me. After a little bit of crawling the passage soon opened up and I entered a reasonable aven. Judging by the direction and distance this aven appears to be under the shake hole to the north of Gale Garth. From the aven the passage is easy walking and then divides, the left route follows the water where someone has been doing a lot of work to make the passage Paul sized, unfortunately this ends after a couple of minutes crawling. Worth noting is that just as I climbed down into the crawl there was passage on the right that had been blocked by the diggers rocks, I was able to move these and gain access into a parallel passage that going South is a wet muddy dig with bucket and rope in place and looks like it will continue. To the North the passage opens up and ends in a free climb that leads back to the main passage.
Returning back to the junction I climbed up the dry stone wall to the right. A couple of metres after the wall the inlet on the right soon ends. I also climbed back behind the way in to check for possible passages but no luck. Back on the ground the main passage curves to the left, I soon entered a chamber with a rope to help with the climb up the other side. At the top of the rope there are a couple of digs on the left. A short crawl on the right gradually increases in size to allow hands and knees crawling. I then got to a junction with a climb down on the right, this lead me to the parallel passage I found earlier. The climb back up was harder than the climb down.
Once back on route, I soon passed though four chambers with interesting formations and large amounts of straws. Some of the formations had a dark staining so the cave had a mix of pure white, orange, yellow and black formations. I had realised some time back that I should have brought the camera, I quickly returned to the surface, being a reasonably responsible caver I knew I had to go and change my details on the call out board, I did not know the name so was going to write abut the cave under the men at work sign. Back at the farm, Slug who was checking the club tackle was able to tell me the name of the cave, I then changed my details on the call out board and returned to Gale Garth for a photo session. I finally got back to the farm at five thirty. I was advised at the committee meeting that the other route out of the first chamber is also worth a look and gets easier once the first squeeze is passed, so it looks like a repeat trip is required.
Paul Thomas in Gale Garth